Anna Sheffer
May 17, 2019 11:53 am

Over the past few years, several high-fashion brands have been slammed for cultural appropriation and racism in their designs. In February, Gucci was forced to apologize for selling a sweater and accessories that resembled a Jim Crow-era blackface caricature. Now, the company is once again drawing criticism for cultural insensitivity—this time for selling a “turban.”

People.com reports that the design, originally named “Indy Full Turban” was featured in the brand’s Milan Fashion Week Show for its fall-winter 2018 collection—worn by a white model. But the design reignited controversy when Twitter users discovered that it was being sold at Nordstrom for $790. The description of the product billed it as a “gorgeously crafted turban.”

Gucci’s design struck many as offensive because turbans are religious garments worn by practicing Sikhs. The Sikh Coalition notes that “wearing a turban asserts a public commitment to maintaining the values and ethics of the tradition, including service, compassion, and honesty.”

On Twitter, users spoke out against Gucci for monetizing a part of this faith tradition.

The Sikh Coalition told HuffPost that it had contacted both Gucci and Nordstrom about the offensive item of clothing. On May 16th, Nordstrom tweeted that it would stop carrying the product in a reply to one user.

After the blackface sweater fiasco, Gucci announced that it would work to hire more diverse employees. It also created a new position, “Global Director for Diversity and Inclusion,” to work on the brand’s diversity and inclusion strategy.

It’s frustrating to see fashion companies still appropriating other cultures in their designs. It’s 2019…do better.

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